LeGarrette Blount will begin next season on the bench.
A league spokesperson informed NFL Media on Tuesday that the New England Patriots running back has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse.
The sixth-year back played a core role during New England's Super Bowl run after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers in mid-November. After running for just 266 yards over 11 games with the Steelers, Blount hammered defenses for 281 yards over New England's final five games of the regular season. He blasted opponents for another 189 yards over three playoff tilts under coach Bill Belichick.
Blount is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices. He'll be permitted to make his season debut Week 2, the story added. It's a brief suspension, but Blount's absence puts New England in a pinch out of the gate. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are gone, leaving Jonas Gray, James White, Brandon Bolden and James Develin next up to get work.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 6:14pm
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Ajirotutu has played in 57 games for San Diego and Carolina over the past five years. He has caught a total of 24 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 8:06pm
During an interview with Rich Gannon on SiriusXM, Warner said he thought Kaepernick would be better served staying in the pocket, rather than allowing his incredible athleticism to become a crutch.
“He can’t do all the running,” Warner said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “Now he’s got to become more of a pass-first guy and complement with his athleticism. And he’s never been asked to do that before. And so that’s the process that we kind of went through in the couple of months I was working with him."
Warner spent 10 sessions working with Kaepernick in Arizona this offseason, according to the story, and said he hoped the work helped keep Kaepernick focused on moving the ball downfield. Last year, Kaepernick averaged just 7.0 yards per pass attempt, and the 49ers went out and bought Torrey Smith in free agency in an attempt to stretch the field.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 8:03pm
The Jets quarterback has spent time in California this offseason working out with former major-league pitcher-turned-quarterback tutor Tom House, who also has worked with Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel and former Jet Tim Tebow.
"It wasn't a thing where I needed to change things," said Smith, who is 11-18 in two seasons. "It was basically just going out there to work out and get better, and that's what we accomplished."
"As of right now, I'm just focusing on getting better every single day and relishing every single opportunity that I have," Smith said on a conference call Monday after the team's first day of voluntary workouts. "Today's only Day 1, Phase 1."
Smith said he is "very pleased" with the progress he's made, but it remains to be seen what his new coaching staff thinks of him compared with the other quarterbacks on the roster, the story added. The Jets traded for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and the team has hinted they may want to add another quarterback.
Moore caught 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns while also running for one score that season and he followed that up with seven more touchdown catches the next year. He continued to play a prominent role in the offense in 2013, but drifted into an insignificant role with Oakland last season.
Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was the head coach in Oakland when Moore was a rookie during the 2011 season. The problem for Moore's fantasy potential is he'll be behind A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and the recently re-signed Brandon Tate, at least heading into OTAs and camp.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 1:07pm
The Cowboys certainly hope that's the case. McFadden averaged less than 3.4 yards a carry the past three seasons with Oakland. He rushed for a total of 1,620 yards, which is less than DeMarco Murray accumulated for the Cowboys last season.
So, what do the Cowboys see in McFadden?
"We liked him a lot coming out of college,'' head coach Jason Garrett said. "He came out in '08. That was the same year we drafted Felix Jones. We spent a lot of time with him and on him. I think he was the fourth player taken in that draft. There was a lot to like about him.
"We are confident in the environment we can create for our guys to bring the best out in him.''
McFadden played in 16 games for the first time in his career last season. He missed 19 games over the previous three seasons and has played in more than 13 games in a season only once in his career. There is no doubt McFadden will be behind a better offensive line this year, but the Cowboys could very well address the position in the draft. There is a lot to settle between now and fantasy draft day in terms of McFadden's possible value.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 10:39am
WR Ryan Broyles led the Lions with 11 catches for 144 yards during the preseason, but was a nonfactor in the regular season. He was active for just five games, when Calvin Johnson was dealing with a high ankle sprain, and caught two passes for 25 yards.
But HC Jim Caldwell says he saw growth from Broyles during practices, and is hopeful he'll play himself into the picture at receiver now that he's finally gone a year without suffering a major injury.
"I think he's a guy you have a lot of respect for because he's had three major injuries, and he's fought his way back from them, and I think that's hard to do," offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said last week. "Listen, when the guy's been in there, he's been productive. And we're excited to see where he is now after a full season of not coming back from an injury. He's had a full year to be healthy, and we're excited to see what he does here in the offseason and heading into camp."
The story went on to say now that Broyles is healthy and freed from the perpetual rehab process, Detroit is hopeful he can turn his focus to improving his game. But it's not that simple for Broyles. Even when he was healthy last year, he was not a factor because he filled a virtually identical role in the offense as Golden Tate. And Tate is the much better player. So it stands to reason Broyles could be healthier this year, and better this year, and still not be a part of the offense's plans.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Peterson will meet with the NFL this week to discuss reinstatement, per a source informed of the situation.
The meeting is ahead of schedule for Peterson, who was supposed to be eligible for reinstatement on April 15.
Updated reports on Monday said the meeting will take place on Tuesday. Peterson, who agreed to a plea deal in November of no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault, is still on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Having some clarity on Peterson's situation could soon answer some of the lingering questions surrounding the face of Minnesota's franchise and if he'll play for the Vikings again since there has been a growing sentiment from Peterson's camp that he'd prefer to play elsewhere. The Cardinals and Cowboys have both been rumored destinations.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 10:22am
The Ravens still will likely draft a wide receiver pretty early and they still are monitoring the markets of veteran free agents like Greg Jennings and Michael Crabtree. But by now, it’s pretty clear that they want to give every opportunity for their own young receivers to step into bigger roles.
With the departure of Torrey Smith to San Francisco, and Steve L. Smith another year older, a few of the young WRs mentioned above look like they will get a chance at more snaps in 2015. Still, the Ravens remain a run-first team, so in terms of fantasy value, a lot remains to be seen concerning these guys heading into fantasy draft season.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 8:30pm
Rex Ryan has stressed all offseason that the quarterback position will be an open competition in training camp for the Buffalo Bills. Should we believe him?
After all, it was just last August that Ryan and the Jets staged a faux competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The Jets stacked the deck so far in Smith's favor that Vick wouldn't even play along, publicly disagreeing with the coaching staff's notion that he was competing for a starting job.
Fast forward to present day, and Ryan is facing a familiar problem with a new team. EJ Manuel, like Smith, is a high 2013 draft pick who's struggled in his first two seasons and was benched in his second season. Matt Cassel, like Vick, is a 30-something veteran with past success.
"You look at Matt Cassel, obviously he's won in this league," said Ryan, according to The Buffalo News. "He's been a Pro Bowl-quarterback, so there's that experience that you have.
Ryan went on to say that he won't throw out Manuel after just two years and pointed out that Aaron Rodgers never took a snap for three years. From a coaching standpoint, Manuel may not have a lot of motivation if Cassel is named the starter at this point in the year, but it sure seems like that's where the team is heading.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 9:17am
As part of Denver HC Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking offense, the fullback will return to the roster. The Broncos haven't featured a true fullback on their 53-man roster since Chris Gronkowski in 2012, and Spencer Larsen boasted the last part-time role in the running game in 2008.
Twenty-three NFL teams used fullbacks last season. The Broncos will join the group this season with Juwan Thompson and Joe Don Duncan, signed last month, the current candidates to fill the vacancy. Kubiak also will look to add depth through the draft, which starts April 30, or with a street free agent.
The story went on to say that the Broncos tried to throttle up their running game after a humbling November loss to the St. Louis Rams. Pro Bowler C.J. Anderson blossomed, and the story also pointed out the undrafted tailback will enter offseason workouts as a starter. The author feels the balanced attack left quarterback Peyton Manning ineffective and lacking confidence. With Kubiak, power-based sets will increase in multiple formations, including the pistol, a concession to the shotgun Manning has mastered.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 9:11am
DiRocco: Only if he improves his issues with pass protection. It's not a physical problem. He is willing to block and can do it. He just struggles knowing what his responsibilities are in certain protections and audibles. If he's able to figure that out then he will have more opportunities.
Blocking responsibilities are a big reason young RBs can't get on the field. The emergence of Denard Robinson last season could also limit Johnson's snaps. And don't forget about Toby Gerhart - DiRocco added that he thinks the starting spot will come down to Robinson or Gerhart in 2015. The team also signed Bernard Pierce this offseason.
Saturday, April 4, 2015, 8:16pm
Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot answered a question about whether the team is already looking to move on from QB Johnny Manziel.
Cabot: Based on conversations with the Browns at the NFL annual meeting last week, I really don't believe they're ready to give up on Johnny Manziel after only seven quarters of work. For starters, they don't even know what they have in Manziel until he gets out of rehab -- likely sometime this week -- and they want to see if he can live up to his first-round status once he has his personal life under control. Browns general manager Ray Farmer stressed that he believes Manziel has the physical tools to excel in the NFL.
Kabot added that Farmer also believes Manziel will flourish in the Browns' play-action, run-oriented scheme when the team doesn't have to rely on him to carry it. There is some thought that the offense changed too drastically when Manziel played, and that it threw off the entire unit. What's more, the Browns now have one of Manziel's mentors in Kevin O'Connell as their quarterbacks coach. Manziel thrived and improved in the few months he spent with O'Connell before the draft last year, and the Browns are confident he can bring out the best in Manziel.
Saturday, April 4, 2015, 1:46pm
Tate (6-1, 195; North Carolina) is a seventh-year NFL player for 2015. He has not missed a regular season or postseason game in the last five years, including four with the Bengals. Last season he logged 17 receptions for 193 yards (11.4) and one TD. He also rushed three-for-21 (7.0), averaged 9.7 yards on 18 punt returns and averaged 22.1 yards on 18 kickoff returns.
Saturday, April 4, 2015, 1:44pm
For the fourth time since free agency opened last month, the Bengals have re-signed a player who had left and gone away. On Thursday it was Josh Johnson, quarterback Andy Dalton’s backup from 2013, after he signed a one-year deal that figures to be for near the minimum.
The Bengals were thought to be interested in re-signing 2014 backup Jason Campbell, but there was talk he has been considering retirement and the Bengals moved back to Johnson, a seven-year veteran turning 29 next month.
All signs have been pointing to A.J. McCarron still getting dibs on the backup spot that has been manned by three different players under Dalton.